Posting Bail 101

In Washington State there are certain guidelines and procedures for being released from jail in the event a person is booked into jail. A person arrested and charged for a crime in Washington State will either be: (1) released on their “personal recognizance”, or (2) required to “bail out”. Bail is a process wherein a person arrested in Washington State pays a set amount of money to be released from jail. To effectuate release, the arrested individual essentially assures the court, by “posting” money, that she will appear in court for all scheduled criminal proceedings associated with the case, including arraignment, preliminary hearings, pre-trial hearings, motions, and trials; if the person fails to appear in the Washington court as scheduled, she will be subject to immediate arrest and any bail posted or otherwise paid by her will be entirely forfeited. In essence, if the person shows up to all court proceedings her money will be returned to her. If she fails to show up to even one court appearance, she will be arrested and she will remain in jail until such time as the case is entirely completed; the money she “posted” will not be returned to her.

Bail in Washington State can be set in essentially two ways. First, the bail amount may be pre-determined through a “bail schedule”. Second, a judge may set a specific financial figure based on: (1) Seriousness of the crime alleged, (2) by means of injury to others, (3) a suspect’s criminal record, (4) the danger that the suspect’s release might pose to the community, (5) a suspect’s relationship with family, community or employment, (6) the likeliness that the person on bail may “skip” or not appear as required by the court.

Often times people arrested for committing crime in Washington State cannot pay the bail amount set by the court. In cases where the person is unable to personally come up with money to post bail, she may be able to acquire the assistance of a Washington State bail bondsman. A Washington State bail bondsman can post bail on behalf of a jailed person by writing a Washington bail bond. A bail bond is a written guarantee that the full bail amount will be paid in the event that the person fails to appear for any court hearings. A bond is usually obtained through a Washington State bail bond agency that typically charges a fee in exchange for posting of the bond (usually about 10% of the bail amount). Bail bond agencies may also demand additional collateral before posting a bond on behalf of the person, as the agency will be responsible for paying the full bail if the suspect “jumps bail” and/or fails to appear as promised.

At SQ Attorneys, most clients are released on their personal recognizance without ever having to post bail. SQ Attorneys successfully defends clients at their first court appearance regardless of the fact that prosecutors routinely ask the judge to impose bail. If you or a loved one is arrested and/or charged with a crime in Washington State it is imperative that you seek the assistance of a qualified Seattle criminal attorney. If in the unfortunate circumstance bail is set, a Seattle criminal lawyer can assist you in figuring out the best way to post bail, and/or find a Washington bail bondsman to help post the bail required to effectuate the arrested person’s release in a timely manner.

The Seattle criminal attorneys that make up the criminal defense team of SQ Attorneys are highly qualified and reputable Seattle criminal defense lawyers that are dedicated to providing top notch, aggressive representation for those arrested for crime in Western Washington. The team creates success by working with law enforcement and the prosecuting attorney’s office to ensure that all facts and circumstances related to the criminal allegations are considered in creating the fairest, most equitable and just resolution possible in light of all the surrounding circumstances.

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